Nescot Performing Arts students showcase three plays

May 15, 2013

Nescot Performing Arts students showcase three plays

Nescot Performing Arts students have been showcasing three plays as part of the UpStageRight theatre company as the academic year comes to an end.

A group of 16 second-year BTEC Extended Diploma Level 3 students performed We Lost Elijah at Nescot on March 13 and 14 and at Greenwich Theatre on May 9 as part of a national project.

The play also featured a score composed and performed live by three Music Practise students, and dance sequences choreographed by the Performing Arts learners.

"We felt incredibly proud of how the students did, and the feedback has been so positive," said Clair Prime, who was the technical stage manager for all three plays.

"The thing people have been most impressed by is how we work our students as a theatre company, and our culture, ethos and professionalism shows that."

The performance was part of the National Theatre Connections programme, which brought ten writers together with young people to create and develop ten plays.

These were then performed by 222 youth theatre companies around the UK, with one version of each play chosen to be showcased at the Connections festival at the National Theatre in London in July.

As part of the selection process, a member of the National Theatre came to watch the performance, and UpStageRight was assessed and given feedback on how to develop the production ready for the Greenwich performance.

Clair said the students and staff had been disappointed not to be selected as one of the final ten, but said everyone had enjoyed the process.

She added: "We loved the challenges and experiences that being part of the National Theatre 2013 Connections project presented us, and are looking forward to taking part again next year."

We Lost Elijah was written by Ryan Craig, and is set against the backdrop of the riots which engulfed parts of the UK in August 2011.

In the play Elijah is so unhappy he is considering taking his own life, but is persuaded by his brother's girlfriend to go missing instead, using the riots as a cover.

She hides him in a garden shed in Croydon, but the play ends dramatically when the shed explodes ten days later during a vigil for the missing teen.

Meanwhile, one first-year company has been working on Beautiful Burnout, a piece of physical theatre written by Bryony Lavery and created by Frantic Assembly.

The play is based in Glasgow and centres around Cameron Burns, and the grit and determination he must show in order to become a professional boxer.

The Performing Arts department hired an 18-foot wrestling ring from Varsity Pro Wrestling, which was converted into a boxing ring for the shows at Nescot on March 26 and 27.

"Frantic Assembly actually got in touch with us to say they had seen footage of our performances and that we had done an amazing job," said Clair.

She praised the performance of Cameron Muir as Ajay Chopra, the professional boxer who lands such a powerful punch on main character Cameron Burns that he ends up critically ill in hospital.

The other first-year company gave an open-air performance called Plausible Deniability at Reigate Fort on May 2 and 3.

The students took inspiration from the horsemeat scandal as stimulus to create a storyline about Operation Cobweb, a fictional government plan to eradicate people who eat meat.

However, the operation had gone awry, with Reigate Fort being used as the only remaining place of refuge to hide from those who had been turned into zombies.

No charge was made to the audience, who were walked around the Fort to different scenes as the storyline progressed.

"Because it's a remote location, the students had to be really organised and make sure they invited people to the show themselves. We also had excellent support from the National Trust to promote the show in the local area." said Clair.

"However, there were quite a few people out walking their dogs who enjoyed having some free entertainment."

Clair also praised Marc Russell at the National Trust for helping accommodate the group at Reigate Fort.

For information on next year's production please email You can also keep up to date with news from UpStageRight through Twitter and through Facebook

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